I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, May 23, 2016

What Makes a Page-Turner?

Let's talk about what makes us keep turning the pages of a book. When a thousand things call to us, why is it that we can't put the book down?

I think we'd all agree that it's a character we begin to care about on page one. We care because she's likable, and she's got trouble. Or, as writers call it, conflict. 

But what exactly does that involve? In the overall story, it means the difficulty the main character has in reaching her goals and the uncertainty of the outcome. We're not sure if she'll get what she desires so badly, so we read on.

Conflict is not just disagreement or argument. In fact, that can be annoying. But a character torn in two directions, makes us want to read on. 

So if you're writing a story, force your character into something she'd never do. Make him say something he'd never say. 

Write so that there's macro tension--the goal that she can't reach, and micro tension--the concern about what's said or done in the next sentence.

What do you think? What makes you keep turning the pages of a book? And what annoys you in a book? 

2 comments:

  1. Great post! I started a book last night and there were three pages of the character getting into her car and getting to the place she wanted to go. I have no idea if she got there--I put the book down. :-)

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  2. I'm sorry I'm late to the party. Yes, we'd better like the char. in spite of idiosyncrasies. Or be so infuriated w/ them, we want to watch their deserved disaster. Thanks, Teri.

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